Whitehall wins first two sets, then loses the next three and the Class B district title to Coopersville

By Steve Gunn

SPRING LAKE – The Coopersville volleyball team has been a thorn in the side of Muskegon-area teams all week.LSJ Logo incert

In the first round of districts on Monday, the Broncos knocked off Fruitport, champions of the Lakes 8 Conference.

On Wednesday they downed Oakridge, which was having its best season in years.

Julie Brown gets a shot over Coopersville. Photo/Carol Cooper

No. 10 Julie Brown gets a shot over Coopersville. Photo/Carol Cooper

Then on Thursday Coopersville completed the trifecta, rallying from a two-set deficit to defeat West Michigan Conference champion Whitehall 3-2 in the Class B district final at Spring Lake High School.

Coopersville, now 36-9, advances to regional play.

Whitehall, which was trying to defend its 2014 district championship, finished the season 36-10-2.

“They played good,” said Whitehall Coach Ted Edsall. “We didn’t play great the first two games, but we found a way to win, then we didn’t play good at all the last three games.

“We just had some uncharacteristic errors, we had some players who tried so hard but it just wasn’t their night, and I don’t think we got any breaks. It was a combination of things, it wasn’t meant to happen tonight.”

Every set of the title math was a nail-biter.

The first set was tied 11 different times, including 24-24. But Whitehall collected two straight points, one on a soft shot over the net by Shoup, and the other on a kill by Brown, to take the set 26-24.

The second set was tied nine different times, with Coopersville having the edge by a point or two through most of it. But Whitehall forced an 18-18 tie, then  took seven out of the last eight points to win 25-19.

Coopersville bounced back and controlled most of the third set, building a lead as large as eight points before sealing a 25-18 victory.

The fourth set was another tight affair, with the score tied seven different times. Coopersville broke a 12-12 tie by taking six of the next seven points to pull ahead 18-13, then rolled to a 25-19 win.

The Broncos helped themselves with six service aces in the set.

Alyssa Myers gets the block for Whitehall. Photo/Carol Cooper

Alyssa Myers gets the block for Whitehall. Photo/Carol Cooper

Whitehall grabbed a 6-4 lead in the fifth and final set, before Coopersville roared back and took a 9-6 lead, then Whitehall rallied to force a 9-9 tie. But the Broncos won six of the last seven points to win 15-10 and take the district trophy.

Melissa Shoup and Brianna Copley each had 12 kills for Whitehall, Julie Brown added eight and freshman Allisyn Grams contributed six.

Alyssa Myers had 46 assists and Hanna Evans had 25 digs.

“We definitely did not quit,” said Coopersville Coach Shane Balcom, whose team has won the O-K Blue Conference title four years in a row, but hadn’t won a district since 2006. “I knew we could come back.

“Last year we kind of walked through everything, played Whitehall in districts, they hit us with a punch and we didn’t know how to come back. This year we played some pretty good teams and we knew how to come back.”

Peyton Helson led Coopersville with 19 kills and four aces, Lauren Helson had 36 assists while Shelby Rasch contributed 21 digs.


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